CSPF is dedicated to advocating for legislation and policy changes to advance our mission of protecting and enhancing the California state parks system.

To advance our policy goals, CSPF works with policymakers at the state, federal and local levels.

We also encourage our park partners, members and park supporters throughout California to become engaged in our grassroots advocacy efforts.

Citizen Action

CSPF encourages our park partners, members and park supporters throughout California to become engaged in our grassroots advocacy efforts to advance our mission of protecting and enhancing the California state parks system.

Park Advocacy Day

Each year over 100 park advocates from throughout California participate in Park Advocacy Day to meet with legislators and lobby in support of California’s 279 state parks.

By participating in Park Advocacy Day, you’ll help send a powerful message to policymakers that California’s state parks are important places that need to be protected. Your knowledge and first-hand experience will be imperative as we work to make this the most successful Park Advocacy Day yet!

Participants come from a variety of backgrounds and affiliations, and typically include representatives of environmental, recreational and other state park related nonprofit organizations and state park cooperating associations, as well as local business leaders, educators, park volunteers, and state park users.

Planning for the 14th Annual Park Advocacy Day is underway. More details to come.

Park Advocacy Day 2016 Park Advocacy Day FAQ

For more information about CSPF’s advocacy work, please contact or call our Sacramento office at 916-442-2119

Save Our State Parks Campaign

In 2008, California’s state parks faced the first threat of park closures due to budget reductions. In the wake of this announcement, CSPF started the Save Our State Parks Campaign as a way to mobilize park partner organization and individuals across the state in our efforts to keep parks open.

From 2008-2013, the SOS Campaign worked against multiple park closure proposals, threats to eliminate lifeguards from state beaches and a barrage of other challenges.

Over the course of the campaign, over 300 entities officially endorsed the campaign, including Chambers of Commerce, Visitor/Convention Bureau, companies, state park cooperating associations and nonprofits organizations.

Here are just a few examples of SOS Campaign activities:


Closing Parks is Bad for Business
In 2011, CSPF worked with the California Travel Association and SOS Campaign partners to distribute 11x17 “Closing Parks is Bad for Business” placards. We encouraged businesses to display the placards in store windows, cash registers and other public areas. Within 2 weeks of starting the campaign CSPF had distributed over 500 placards to locations throughout California.


Don’t let State Parks Become Just a Memory
In 2011, SOS Campaign partners helped send a powerful message to Governor Brown by collecting thousands of signatures and messages opposing park closures on giant postcards during events and in their communities during a one-month period. Each postcard was over 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Park supporters marched from the Stanford mansion State Historic Park to the State Capitol, where we held a rally and delivered nearly 200 of the postcards to the Governor.


2009 SOS Expo at the Capitol
On June 21, 2009, over 100 Save Our State Parks Campaign partners joined CSPF in Sacramento for a rally and expo on the lawn of the State Capitol. This event highlighted the cultural and natural resources at risk with the planned park closures. It also drew attention to the impacts that closing state parks will have on the communities where these parks are located.

State Parks Action Network

The State Park Action Network (SPAN) is a grassroots coalition of organizations, business leaders, individuals and local governments who envision a brighter future for each of California’s 279 state parks. Led by the California State Parks Foundation, SPAN unifies the hundreds of entities throughout the state to advocate for a healthy and sustainable state park system.

If you are interested in becoming involved in SPAN, please contact or call our Sacramento office at 916-442-2119

SPAN Website

Take Action

Take action and speak up for California’s state parks. Participate in our current action alert and sign up to receive alerts directly to your email inbox.

Legislative Agenda

As part of our role in advancing state parks issues for the last decade, CSPF has provided leadership in lobbying the California legislature on relevant bills and budget actions as well as proactively sponsoring legislation. CSPF has sponsored legislation to achieve park protection as well as facilitate fiscal sustainability for the state park system.

In addition to sponsoring legislation, CSPF also maintains regular communication with key policy committee members and provides testimony to legislative hearings and coordinates with other like-minded organizations on policy priorities.

Current Legislative Bills

AB 327 (Gordon) Volunteer Prevailing Wage Exemption
Knowing how critical the use of volunteers are to California’s state park system, we urged legislators to support Assembly Bill 327 by Assemblymember Rich Gordon (D-Menlo Park) to continue the prevailing wage exemption for volunteers through 2024.

Authored by Assemblymember Richard Gordon (D-Menlo Park), AB 327 continues an exemption from prevailing wage for volunteers who perform public works-type projects. Current law already provides such an exemption until 2017; AB 327 will extend that exemption for another 7 years, out to 2024.

View the bill here.
STATUS: 7/6/2015 Signed by Governor Jerry Brown

AB 988 (Stone and Atkins) Outdoor Environmental Education and Recreation Grants Program
CSPF is strongly committed to the goal of increasing youth access to outdoor education and recreation opportunities. We support Assembly Bill 988 by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley) which seeks increases opportunities for youth, especially at-risk youth, to participate in outdoor environmental educational and recreation programs. This bill advanced with bipartisan support from the Assembly and through its Senate policy committee but failed to pass off the Senate Appropriations Committee’s “suspense file” and is being held as a two-year bill. Although the FY 15-16 Budget signed by Governor Brown in June did allocate $10 million of unspent, reverted Prop 40 funds for outdoor environmental education and recreation programs, questions were raised about the challenges of using those funds for programmatic-related funding requests. We look forward to working with the Assemblymember Stone and park advocates to advance AB 988 in 2016.

View the bill here.
STATUS: 8/28/20: Failed to pass the Senate Appropriations Committee. 2 year bill.

AB 549 (Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael)) State Park System
AB 549 advances ideas related to the February 2015 Parks Forward Commission Report and the current work of DPR’s Transformation Team. Among other things, AB 549 encourages DPR to develop more overnight accommodations in state parks and allows them to partner with nonprofits to operate such accommodations. The bill also clarifies that DPR may enter into various partnership agreements, and may provide low cost or free access to parks in recognition of such partnerships.

View the bill here.
STATUS: 10/7/15 Signed by Governor Brown

SB 317 (De Leon) The Safe Neighborhood Parks, Rivers, and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2016
CSPF worked with Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León to support Senate Bill 317, a $2.45 billion bond proposal, titled the Safe Neighborhood Parks, Rivers, and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2016. The bond includes include funding to California’s state parks system, as well as regional and local parks, rivers, lakes streams, coast and ocean protection and climate resilience. SB 317 includes $200 million for restoration & preservation of existing state park facilities and units and $50 million for enterprise activities in state parks that increase revenue generation. This bill has an urgency clause which requires a 2/3 vote and therefore bipartisan support. As of the end of the session, there were not Senate Republicans that indicated their support for advancing a bond through the legislative process, so the bill did not get taken up for a vote on the Senate Floor. CSPF will be working with the author and supporters on the bill to advance it in 2016.

View the bill here.
STATUS: 9/11/2015 Ordered to Inactive file on request of Senator Mitchell

SB 204 (Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills)) State Parks
SB 204 advances ideas related to the February 2015 Parks Forward Commission Report and the current work of DPR’s Transformation Team. It removes the 2017 sunset on DPR’s authority to enter into operating agreements with nonprofits, which came from legislation originally written and sponsored by CSPF in 2011. SB 204 also gives DPR authority to enter into new agreements with youth-serving public agencies or nonprofit organizations to perform work in state parks, with the goal of providing youth with service and learning opportunities.

View the bill here.
STATUS: 10/7/15 Signed by Governor Brown

California State Budget

California’s state parks system is in critical need of funding to address the ever-growing backlog of deferred maintenance projects and update aging park infrastructure. This year we lobbied in support of Governor Brown’s $20 million General Fund appropriation to address deferred maintenance backlog in state parks. We are pleased that the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) did receive authority for a modest, one-time infusion of State Park & Recreation Fund (SPRF) funding to maintain current operations. In addition to the $10 million toward outdoor environmental and recreation programs discussed earlier, the budget also included funding for two projects that CSPF has helped support: to open the new museum at Donner Memorial State Park and to re-open Los Angeles State Historic Park, which has been undergoing construction over the last year.

Annually, CSPF monitors the budget and regularly meets with key legislators and staff to advocate for policy and budget changes related to fiscal sustainability for our state park system. CSPF’s primary focus in monitoring the budget is to help determine ways to improve the management, operations and access to our state parks.

The Department of Parks and Recreation’s (DPR) budget is primarily comprised of General Fund appropriations, funds from the State Parks and Recreation Fund (SPRF), special funds and, when available, bond funds. Revenues in the SPRF are derived largely from user fees collected throughout the state park system, such as fees for day-use admission or parking, overnight camping or boating. Bond funds are available to the Department of Parks and Recreation as a result of voter-passed bonds, the most recent being Propositions 12, 40, 50 and 84.

As reported from the State Department of Finance:

The California Department of Parks and Recreation operates the state’s park system to preserve and protect the State’s most values natural, cultural and historical resources. Governor Jerry Brown’s May Revision includes total funding of $553.3 million ($115.9 million General Fund and $436.4 million other funds) to support the Department. The current budget for the Department of Parks and Recreation can be found here.

California State Parks Foundation

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